Recognize the Signs - Carbon Monoxide

What is carbon monoxide

  • Carbon monoxide “CO” is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, gas that can kill you
  • It is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in vehicles, small engines such as generators, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, and gas appliances such as ranges, dryers, and furnaces
  • CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals exposed to it

Symptoms of CO poisoning

  • Headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion
  • These symptoms mimic other illnesses so it is important to distinguish the cause of your symptoms promptly
  • If you have any gas appliances, burn fuels, or use a fireplace, be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector installed to detect the gas early

How can I prevent CO poisoning in my home?

  • Install a CO detector
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas oil, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or other products. 
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating
  • Never burn charcoal indoors
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet away from any window, door, or vent
  • When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home

How can I prevent CO poisoning in my car?

  • Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your vehicle every year
  • Never run your vehicle inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open
  • If you drive a vehicle with a tailgate, make sure to open windows in the vehicle to vent CO pulled in from the exhaust
  • If you are parked, make sure the exhaust is not blocked and that there is proper ventilation pulling the exhaust away from the vehicle